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It’s Not What Happens to You…

Risk-taker and record-breaker Chris Waddell shares his thoughts on how to tackle life and find meaning regardless of the challenges in your path.

“It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”

Chris Waddell is one of those people who make editing really difficult, because he has so much to say and he says it all so articulately. It would be easy to cut multiple videos from the interview that we did with Chris – maybe that’s why he’s already had a feature length documentary made about him. It’s called “One Revolution,” [www.one-revolution.org] and it follows his climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro using only the strength of his upper body.

Chris Waddell Climbing Kilimanjaro

Chris is the guy who simply cannot be satisfied with all he has accomplished already. As soon as he completes one feat, he sets out on the next. In one of the many interesting pieces of the conversation that did not end up in this video, we asked Chris where this inner drive comes from and why he continues to push himself. His answer was humbling and profound:

 ”Where I’ve felt most at ease is when I have a purpose that’s bigger than me myself. For instance if climbing Kilimanjaro was about me making it to the top and what that meant about me, I don’t think I would have made it, I think I would have quit, but if it was about me trying to affect the lives of 1.1 billion people with physical and mental disabilities there’s a far greater power and community. In our lives it’s so easy to get more selfish and more myopic in our view of the world and I think Aristotle said what you do for your community is what you do for yourself, and it makes me much more at ease with my position in life to realize that I’m trying to do something for myself but also for something that’s much greater than me. And if someone is looking for purpose it is really about having a goal that’s bigger than you yourself.”

Chris Waddell Paralympics

Do you know of any other disabled people turning the perception of disability upside down? If so please share with us below.

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  1. Being Extraordinary | CauseHub - April 25, 2014

    […] interview with Chris left us humbled and inspired. Check it out here and see if it doesn’t make you want to conquer all of your fears and hesitations, be […]

  2. Sheila Brennan Nee - April 29, 2014

    Chris Waddell is an inspirational teacher and someone I have the honor and pleasure of calling a friend. Following an incredibly moving keynote address at a sports-related trade show five years ago, Chris and I struck up a conversation ~ the flow of our talk of shared Massachusetts roots (and love for New England sports teams) and “big picture” life in general topics felt like the comfort of conversation between old companions. This ease and beautiful way with words is how Chris comes across on stage…as if you and he are sitting across from one another at a kitchen table. Chris delivers an amazing message to adults and children and is someone I will consider as one of my heroes on my (rather short) list of life heroes. Thanks for spreading Chris’ amazing story and dedication to changing the lens of the world…

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